Iowa CSD to Spend $ 115,784 in ESSER Funds on Physical Education Materials and Choir Elevators | national news

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(The Center Square) – The Roland-Story Community School District School Board has approved spending $ 100,000 of federal emergency relief funds for Elementary and Secondary III schools for physical education equipment and the new flooring in their high school weight room.

“This use of funding is well within guidelines set by the federal government, and our request for this specific expense was approved by the Iowa Department of Education in late July,” Superintendent Matt Patton told The Center Square in an October 8 statement emailed. “However, it is important to note that the weight room expenses were only a small portion of the $ 1,126,651 in total COVID-19 relief funds available for our district.”

He said the district in Story City, Iowa planned to make the following additional expenses:

• PPE supplies including disposable masks, hand sanitizer, misters, sanitizing supplies, thermometers and instrument covers: $ 71,365

• Hiring of 1.5 additional specialized educators for three years: $ 310,000

• Full-time contract with Youth & Shelter Services for a mental health therapist for two years: $ 116,000

• Hiring of an additional full-time school nurse for two years: $ 134,760

• Extension of summer school for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students for three years: $ 75,000

• Purchase of 25 access points with monthly data plans for distance learning students: $ 8,554

• Purchase of widened risers for vocal music (with ESSER III funds): $ 15,784

• Coverage of expenses related to employee leave due to COVID: $ 28,988

Patton said the school has access to $ 1,126,651 in total COVID-19 relief funds, and has about $ 275,000 left in federal funds.

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“Due to the specified goal and set time frames, we may not be able to use all remaining funds,” he said.

Iowa Department of Education director of communications Heather Doe confirmed to The Center Square in an October 11 statement emailed that the department approved the requests.

“However, the role of the Iowa Department of Education in reviewing the district’s expenses for reimbursement through ESSER III is to ensure that uses, as indicated by the district, are permitted uses in accordance with federal law, ”Doe said. “Whether or not this is the best use of these funds is a local decision. If the district determines that this is a reasonable use of these funds, the ministry does not have the authority to refuse such use unless the expenditure is definitely ineligible.

Under Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §200.439, capital expenditures for “general purpose equipment, buildings and land” and $ 5,000 or more for “special purpose equipment” are permitted if the school districts receive prior written approval from the state.

Doe said the school district’s request fell under the categories of “Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols, including, where possible, policies consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators and other staff “and” Other activities necessary to maintain the operation and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continue to employ existing staff from the local education agency. “

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Senator Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) said in an Oct. 8 interview with Iowa Press that “spending federal stimulus dollars or pandemic money on sport … doesn’t seem like an appropriate use.”

School districts to use funding from ESSER I (through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) by September 2022, ESSER II (through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act) from by September 2023 and ESSER III (American Rescue Plan) by September 2024.

Districts can request reimbursement for expenses dating back to March 13, 2020. Any remaining funds will be returned to the US Department of Education, Doe said.

Iowa is required to allocate at least 90% of the grant funds as sub-grants to districts in proportion to each school district’s share of funding, Title I, Part A 2020-2021, which is based on the percentage of low-income students the district serves. School districts determine how and when to use their allocations. their expenses must meet ESSER III requirements.

Doe said details on the use of funds by districts will be available when the department submits its annual report to the US Department of Education.

“We do not yet know a date for the submission of the report, but we anticipate a deadline of early 2022,” she said.


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